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Premier Hockey Federation introduces the Montreal Force to growing professional women's league

With the unveiling of the name and logo, a letter F with half of a fleur-de-lis comprising a fascinating aesthetic, the Force de Montreal add to the growth of Canadian content in the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF). L

Led by president Kevin Raphael, the seventh team in league history, and the second based in Canada, the Montreal-based squad first made headlines in late July. Signing seven Quebec-born players, giving the new team a true identity, the name recognition made a significant impression. Including Ann-Sophie Bettez, one of the city's modern-day hockey icons, plus Kim Deschenes, who scored the first outdoor goal in pro women's ice hockey history, these roster moves have added to the momentum of a new beginning in the. female professional game.

Introducing the Montreal Force of the Premier Hockey Federation (PHOTO AGENCE QMI, THIERRY LAFORCE)
Introducing the Montreal Force of the Premier Hockey Federation (PHOTO AGENCE QMI, THIERRY LAFORCE)

Fittingly, a collection of these key acquisitions were on-hand at the Casino de Montreal on Aug. 30, during a special event to introduce the Force. With three jerseys, all featuring burgundy, the team graciously paid homage to the two-time Stanley Cup champions the Montreal Maroons.

Tricia Deguire, a former RSEQ Goalie of the Year, Bettez and blueliner Brigitte Laganiere, recently of the Concordia Stingers, each modeled a different jersey. Another notable name is also linked to the franchise. Daniele Sauvageau, president and director of the high performance training location Centre 21.02 in Verdun, Que., also spoke at the news conference at Casino de Montreal. Worth noting, her facility shall serve as home ice for the Force. Additionally, the Force shall expand its competitive footprint with a barnstorming tour, featuring games throughout the province, a promise made when the team was first announced. Cities poised to host the Force include Gatineau, Quebec City, Rimouski, Riviere du Loup, Saint-Jerome and Sept-Iles, also the hometown of Bettez. Among the players signed to contracts, Bettez is among five who played for the former Canadiennes de Montreal of the former Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL). Having dissolved in 2019 along with the CWHL itself, that was the last professional women's ice hockey team in the city. Bettez, along with Kim Deschenes, were both members of the 2017 Clarkson Cup-winning team. Goaltender Marie-Soleil Deschenes (no relation), Catherine Daoust and Sarah Lefort also skated for the missed CWHL franchise. All ready to contribute towards a new, and overdue, chapter for women's ice hockey in the city, their careers represent a unique linkage, bridging a pair of eras destined to inspire future generations. With the potential to create something special, the current display of passion and pride is poised to pave the road toward runaway success with the new PHF league and a new professional frontier for women's hockey.

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